Department Newsletter, Fall 2020

Message from the Chair
Department Spotlights
Department Kudos
Class Notes
Donor Recognition


Message from the Chair


Hiromi Ishazawa
Department Chair Hiromi Ishizawa

Greetings from Washington, D.C.!

We hope that you and your loved ones are staying well during the global pandemic. GW moved all its classes online in March 2020. The transition to remote teaching presented unique challenges to both students and faculty but we continue to stay engaged in various ways and we are excited to share a few of the highlights of the Sociology Department.

Our students established the GW Criminal Justice Student Association (CJSA) this fall. The CJSA is the organization on campus that allows students to come together who are seeking a better understanding of criminal justice issues that our country is currently struggling with. The more than 100 members of CJSA include not only criminal justice and sociology majors and minors, but also students of various majors from across the university. In November, we were so proud to co-sponsor CJSA’s first event, “Unplugged with CJSA: An Honest Conversation on Police Reform.” The panelists were sociology department faculty Carlos Bustamante and Glenn Kirschner, as well as guest speakers Samantha P. Davis, founder of Black Swan Academy, and Frank Wiley, a retired police chief. The event was moderated by GW students Bishop Walton and Kylie Foster. It was a great success!

For our department, the past year was one of transitions. In December 2019, we wished one of our great colleagues, Ron Weitzer, a happy retirement. Ron joined GW in 1988 and his contributions to the sociology department have been immense. He served as director of graduate studies for many years, taught a range of courses in sociology and criminology/criminal justice, and mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students. 

Ron’s prolific scholarship on police-minority relations and the sex industry are well-recognized both nationally and internationally. In addition to dozens of academic articles appearing in leading journals, he published several books, including Legalizing Prostitution: From Illicit Vice to Lawful Business (New York University Press) and Race and Policing in America: Conflict and Reform (Cambridge University Press). We are all fortunate that Ron continues to stay engaged with our community through his ongoing research on sex work in Europe and Asia, a new project on drug-related police stops in Newark, his position as Professor Emeritus at GW and through serving on the recently created Council on Policing Reform and Race with the National Police Foundation.

We were happy to welcome a new faculty member, Carlos Bustamante, in August 2020. You can read more about Carlos in this newsletter.

Finally, we hope 2021 will be a safe and good year for all of you. Please stay connected with us by following the department’s various social media feeds for our events, students’ achievement and faculty news. Also, please let us know how you are. We are always happy to hear from you.

Hiromi Ishizawa
Chair of Sociology Department

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Department Spotlights

Student Writers Explore ‘New World’


Four headshots of GW students collaged together


COVID has impacted our students.



How has the COVID crisis changed the world for students and their families? Sociology major Sofia Wahba (second from right) was among the first-year students in Assistant Professor of Writing Christy J. Zink’s seminar who shared their journal reflections on the challenges of living in “Our New World,” from confronting fears to finding new inspirations. “This is a time when we can truly help and support one another,” said neuroscience major Reem Bahr. Read more in the CCAS Spotlight magazine.


Welcome New Faculty: Carlos Bustamante


Carlos Bustamante





We were happy to welcome a new faculty member, Carlos Bustamante, in August 2020. Carlos received his PhD from the Department of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining GW, he spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate at State University of New York at Albany. His teaching and research focus on policing, inequality, sociology of race and ethnicity, urban sociology and qualitative methods. He is broadly interested in the social and racial underpinnings of legality and legitimacy, comparative penalty, police culture and criminal legal reform. He is currently working on two research projects. The first compares the policing of restricted forms of entertainment in Oakland, California; Stockholm, Sweden; and Lima, Peru. His second project focuses on the emergence of police transparency laws brought about by high-profile incidents of police violence and misconduct. Our students have already benefited from Carlos’s expertise as he served as a panelist for CJSA’s aforementioned virtual event.

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Department Kudos

Robert Cottrol was cited by Quartz in the article “SCOTUS has the 2nd Amendment in its sights — and gun groups are thrilled.” 

Amitai Etzioni authored numerous articles for The Hill, including: “Congress should move immediately to devise a comprehensive recovery act,” “Beware of seductive narratives about the coronavirus,” “A dove's call for de-escalation with China,” “Needed: a time-bound virtual Congress,” “Mitch McConnell should pull a John Roberts,” “Congress needs to prod the IRS to capture carbon,” Office of Technology Assessment: It's time for a second coming,” “The best education investments start well before school,” and "There are poor ideas, bad ones and Facebook's Libra.”

Terrie Gale authored the letter to the editor “A dangerous precedent and how it affected a driver” that appeared in The Washington Post.

Antwan Jones was quoted by HuffPost in the article “Feeling Social Media Burnout? Here's How Else To Be An Ally Right Now.”

Glenn Kirschner was quoted by Salon in the article “Mueller prosecutor Glenn Kirschner: Trump is a ‘career criminal’ guilty of ‘negligent homicide.’”

Hilary Silver authored the articles “Thinking outside the ballot box — why not online voting?” and “Cancel culture as social exclusion” for The Hill.

Gregory Squires co-authored several articles: “Just How Many Cops Are ‘Bad Apples’?” for The Crime Report; “Pollution, Place, and the Unnecessary Tragedy of Premature Death: Lessons for COVID-19” for Shelterforce and Planetizen; and “Pollution in Black neighborhoods part of Louisville's systemic racism” for the Louisville Courier Journal. Squires also authored a letter to the editor, “Affordable Housing, HUD and Local Zoning,” which appeared in The Wall Street Journal, and he authored the article “Trump's attempt to weaken fair housing rules is beyond tone deaf” for American Banker. Additionally, Squires appeared on WPFW 89.3’s Works in Progress to discuss the HUD fair housing policy, and he was included in the Distinguished Service Honor Roll by the Urban Affairs Association, which recognizes the most impactful service leaders.

Elizabeth Vaquera was cited by The Conversation in the article “DACA argued at the Supreme Court: 6 essential reads.”

Ronald Weitzer was quoted by Sinclair Broadcast Group in the article “As Minneapolis moves to dismantle police force, calls rise to 'defund' departments.” He also authored the article “What ‘Systemic’ Police Reform Really Means” for The Crime Report.


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Class Notes

Rebecca Baker, BA ’20, is a case manager at a medical expert consulting firm where she assists U.S. military veterans obtain benefits from the VA. She is also a part-time 1L at Quinnipiac University School of Law in Connecticut. 

Alan De Vries, BA ’64, retired after a long career working on Wall Street. Although he did a fair amount of traveling pre-COVID, he is still enjoying retirement at home cooking, drinking wine and listening to lots of music. 

Michael Jones, BA ’91, retired from the Delaware River Port Authority Police Department after 28 years of service. He now works as a school resource officer for the Pennsauken School District.

Vera Kiefer, BA ’16, MPA ’17, is a researcher with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Trafficking in Persons, where she is responsible for leveraging data to develop strategies, policies and programs that improve the federal response to human trafficking. 

Marilyn Kirschner, BA ’70,  is the editor-in-chief of, the oldest running online fashion publication in the world. She was senior market editor at Harper's Bazaar for 21 years. 

Sarah Kranau, BA ’14, works in the HR department of an accounting firm. She recently completed her certificate in human resource management from University of California, San Diego. 

Melissa Lenner, BA ’12, runs a boutique podcast production company called Pretty Easy Podcasts with her husband, Alan. They specialize in producing shows that focus on social issues, justice and mental health. 

Lucille Sansing, PhD ’83, is a retired university president, currently doing search and placements for interim positions in higher education. 

David Schoen, BA ’80, is a lawyer practicing in Alabama and New York, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights work and representing victims of terrorism. 

Hunter Scott, BA ’14, is the associate director of veterans services at the largest homeless services provider in Santa Clara County, Calif. Hunter regularly uses data skills that he learned at GW as a sociology major to evaluate program effectiveness, including reducing disparities in access for minority groups. 

Anne Seelig, BA ’00, recently made partner at Lee Litigation Group, where she specializes in class action employment litigation. 

Dara Smith, BA ’12, is currently a public finance attorney practicing in New York City. 

Mary Joe Williams, BA ’78, is the network training coordinator at the Virgin Islands Small Business Development Center, which is hosted at the University of the Virgin Islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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Donor Recognition


The Department of Sociology would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous donors who made a gift to the department from January 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020.

+ Faculty/Staff | # Parent | ~ Student | * Friend

Allanah Beh *

Howard Cohen, BA ’72

Alexandra Deriso, BA ’20 

Ryan Donovan, BA ’20 

Dr. Howard Frank, BA ’79 

Kate Hornyan, BA ’09, MPA ’12

Andee Jorisch #

Henry Jorisch #

Michael Jorisch, BS ’14, MA ’16

Samantha Kessler, BA ’19

Nicole Livtan, BA ’19

Emma Martens, BA ’20

Greggor Mattson, BA ’97 

Shannon McGuire, BA ’15 

Gabrielle Patrissy, BA ’05

Christopher Percopo, BA ’05

Melinda Pollack, BA ’97 

Kenneth Sellin #

Lynn Sellin #

Lamar Thorpe, BA ’07

Portia Wade, BA ’77 

Ariel Waldman, BA ’19, MA ’20

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